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George W. Bush On Trump: “That Was Some Weird Shit”

Donald Trump Inauguration

Today’s quote of the day comes from our nation’s 43rd President: The inauguration of Donald Trump was a surreal experience for pretty much everyone who witnessed it, whether or not they were at the event and regardless of who they supported in the election. On the dais, the stoic presence of Hillary Clinton — whom […]

A PoliSci Perspective on the AHCA’s Demise

us-politics

Worth a read at the Monkey Cage:  President Trump couldn’t pass Obamacare repeal. This is why.

Another Remarkable POTUS Utterance

us-politics

“We had no Democratic support. They weren’t going to give us a single vote.” — President Donald J. Trump. Indeed:  when one tries to repeal a major piece of Democratic legislation, and one’s party does so without any attempt to negotiate before the vote, one tends not to get Democratic votes. Further, when the Republicans […]

George Costanza Explains The Trump Administration

Donald Trump Shrug

I already mentioned this in a comment to Michael Bailey’s post, but I figured it’s worth noting that one line from George Costanza in a different Seinfeld episode explains everything we need to know about the Trump Administration: I can picture Reince Priebus saying this to Sean Spicer ever day before he goes out to address […]

We’re going to the Hamptons, baby!!!

newsman

So did you ever watch the Seinfeld episode in which George Costanza lies to Susan’s parents, the Rosses, about owning a house in the Hamptons? Wacky hijinks ensue when Susan’s parents, who suspect that George is lying, insist that he show them the house.  Rather than simply owning up to his fib, George takes them […]

Lack Of Oxford Comma In Maine Law Could Cost Millions Of Dollars

law-gavel-lights

The lack of an Oxford comma in a Maine statute could end up costing a Maine dairy company millions of dollars: A class-action lawsuit about overtime pay for truck drivers hinged entirely on a debate that has bitterly divided friends, families and foes: The dreaded — or totally necessary — Oxford comma, perhaps the most […]

A Photo for Friday: Approaching Twilight

“Approaching Twilight” March 11, 2017 Pike Road, AL

The Most Transparent Presidency Ever

us-politics

A couple of weeks ago, an acquaintance of mine claimed that the Trump administration was “the most transparent in [her] lifetime.”  This bounces around in my head with some frequency, especially when I see stories like the following (via NBC):  After Pledging to Donate Salary, Trump Declines to Release Proof. President Donald Trump pledged to […]

This Health Care Proposal is a Train-Wreck

us-politics

Via the NYT,  The G.O.P.’s High-Risk Strategy for Health Law Repeal: Under the proposed House legislation, individuals would no longer be subject to a penalty if they go without health insurance, a politically popular change that would be retroactive to 2016. But they would still enjoy the protections of the Affordable Care Act: Insurers would have to […]

Today in Incredible Claims: HHS Sec Price

us-politics

Via MTP: No one will be adversely affected by the Republicans’ new health care bill once it’s enacted and more people would be covered, according to Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price. “I firmly believe that nobody will be worse off financially in the process that we’re going through,” Price insisted when pressed by NBC’s […]

In Which Martin O’Malley Kind Of Misses The Point

us-politics

Former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, who made a bid for the Democratic nomination for President that barely registered with his party, is musing about what happened to his campaign: Martin O’Malley remembers running for president like this: He is on a train, heading for a bridge. He can see the bridge is giving out. He […]

One More on the Problems at State

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Via Vox: The astonishing dysfunction of Trump’s State Department, in one quote Mexico’s foreign minister, Luis Videgaray, was in Washington. The Los Angeles Times’s Tracy Wilkinson asked State spokesperson Mark Toner what the plans were for his visit. Toner, a highly regarded career foreign service officer, apparently had no idea that a key foreign dignitary was […]

The Weakness of Secretary Tillerson

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Robert Jervis writes at Foreign Policy that  Rex Tillerson Might Be the Weakest Secretary of State Ever: Tillerson’s position here is very weak. President Donald Trump has shown his lack of faith in him by vetoing his choice for the No. 2 position in his department, Elliott Abrams. Tillerson has also been absent for most of Trump’s […]

That’s the Main Point, isn’t it?

us-politics

Via the NYT:  Wealthy Would Get Billions in Tax Cuts Under Obamacare Repeal Plan It is not unusual for tax cuts to benefit mostly the wealthiest, but still save some money for a majority of Americans. But the benefits of these reductions would be aimed squarely at the top. […] People making $200,000 to $999,999 a […]

A Photo for Friday

“Untitled” Pike Road, AL January 9, 2017

Orrin Hatch To Run For Eighth Term In Senate

Orrin_Hatch_3

Utah Senator Orrin Hatch, who was first elected to the Senate in 1976, has reversed a previous decision and will run for reelection in 2018: Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, the longest-serving GOP senator, told CNN he is planning to run for re-election next year, abandoning his plans to quit the chamber after four decades of […]

Liar Liar Pants On Fire

Liar Liar Pants On Fire

This story has the fortunate coincidence of simultaneously being both a lawyer joke and a Florida Man joke, except it’s apparently true: A Miami defense lawyer’s pants burst into flames Wednesday afternoon as he began his closing arguments in front of a jury — in an arson case. Stephen Gutierrez, who was arguing that his […]

Initial Reviews of ACA Replacement not Exactly Stellar

us-politics

Megan McArdle: Heritage Action, Freedomworks and Americans for Prosperity — three of the biggest groups that Republicans will need to help them whip their right flank into voting for this thing — have all come out hard against it. Avik Roy and Michael Cannon, two of the leading opponents of Obamacare in the policy community, […]

Trump Believes Talk Radio Host over FBI Director

us-politics

Via the NYT,  Trump Is Said to Reject Comey Assertion That Wiretapping Claim Is False” President Trump does not accept the contention of the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, that Mr. Trump’s claim that President Barack Obama had him wiretapped was false, a White House spokeswoman said on Monday. The New York Times reported on Sunday […]

Today in Depressing Quotes (State Department Edition)

us-politics

From a piece in The Atlantic (The State of Trump’s State Department) that is worth a read: “I don’t think this administration thinks the State Department needs to exist. They think Jared [Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law] can do everything. It’s reminiscent of the developing countries where I’ve served. The family rules everything, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs […]

That Moment when you Realize the Best Picture is Selected more Democratically than is POTUS…

Actually, I already new that (indeed, even the older FPTP system is more democratic than the electoral college) but I was listening to a podcast yesterday that mentioned the Oscar’s voting procedure and it hit me that that was a good way to bring, in at least small measure, some attention to how voting rules […]

GWB on SNL

us-politics

Via NPR: Bush said imitations of him by Will Ferrell and others didn’t bother him “at all.” He said he loves humor and that “the best humor is when you make fun of yourself.”

45 Seems Unclear on how Government Works

us-politics

@POTUS Tweets: Just out: The same Russian Ambassador that met Jeff Sessions visited the Obama White House 22 times, and 4 times last year alone. — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017 a) This is not unusual. I expect most ambassadors, especially from major powers, have been to the White House a similar number […]

ça change, plus c’est la même chose

us-politics

Warning:  some level of liberal arts education may be needed to understand this post. The following struck me this morning as something I should have thought of when writing my DeVos post: I turn to the second class, who are headed by Meletus, that good and patriotic man, as he calls himself. And now I […]

McMasters on “Radical Islam”

us-politics

Via the NYT: H.R. McMaster Breaks With Administration on Views of Islam President Trump’s newly appointed national security adviser has told his staff that Muslims who commit terrorist acts are perverting their religion, rejecting a key ideological view of other senior Trump advisers and signaling a potentially more moderate approach to the Islamic world. The adviser, Lt. […]

Who Said it? “[W]e”have a respect for the press when it comes to the government”

newsman

That would be Sean Spicer in December 2016 on the difference between being selective with media outlets in the campaign versus in government. The full quote (video at the link): “I think, look, there’s a big difference, I think, between a campaign where it is a private venue using private funds and a government entity. […]

A Photo for Friday

“The Internet is a Strange and Wonderful Place” February 4, 2017 Pike Road, AL (Because the world could use, I fear, more kittens and goofy internet tunes).

Explaining Sweden: Trump’s TV Habits (Updated)

newsman

This (via TPM) may explaing Trump’s Sweden rant: turns out “what happened last night in Sweden” actually just means “last night I was watching Tucker Carlson talk about Sweden” pic.twitter.com/6z5pfOJ7Yv — Ashley Feinberg (@ashleyfeinberg) February 19, 2017 This does not, in my opinion, change the basic thesis of my post on this topic. Worst case […]

Former Congressman And Republican Leader Bob Michel Dies At 93

United States Capitol Building, Washington, D.C. Aerial

Former Congressman Bob Michael, who served as House Republican Leader during a prolonged period when the party was in the minority, has died at the age of 93: Robert H. Michel, who became the longest-serving Republican leader in the history of the House of Representatives while earning a reputation as a genial conciliator who worked […]

We are, I Would Note Again, at the Start of Week 4

us-politics

Via Politico:  Trump reviews top White House staff after tumultuous start President Donald Trump, frustrated over his administration’s rocky start, is complaining to friends and allies about some of his most senior aides — leading to questions about whether he is mulling an early staff shakeup. Trump has told several people that he is particularly displeased […]

Secret Plans are the Best Kind of Plans

us-politics

Via TPM Livewire:  Top White House Advisor Claims Trump’s Wall ‘Will Pay For Itself’ “How are you going to guarantee that Mexico is going to pay for this wall?” Stephanopoulos asked. “They have said absolutely not, they will not pay for it.” “There’s all kinds of things we can do. I’m not going to make […]

Priebus in the Cross-hairs (Already?)

us-politics

Via WaPo:  Trump friend says Priebus is ‘in way over his head’ One of President Trump’s longtime friends made a striking move on Sunday: After talking privately with the president over drinks late Friday, Christopher Ruddy publicly argued that Trump should replace his White House chief of staff. “A lot of people have been saying, ‘Look, Donald has some problems,’ and I […]

Al Jarreau, Jazz Singer Who Spanned Musical Genres, Dies At 76

Al Jarreau

Al Jarreau, a singer whose half-century career spanned a number of musical genres, has died at the age of 76 only days after announcing his retirement from touring: Al Jarreau, a versatile vocalist who sold millions of records and won numerous Grammys for his work in pop and R&B as well as his first love, […]

Donald Trump Continues To Feed Material To Saturday Night Live

Trump SNL

Saturday Night Live is certainly getting a ton of material out of the Trump Presidency. Last night alone, there were three skits that involved some part of the Trump Presidency, including host Alec Baldwin reprising his performance as the President from several months ago. First up, Donald Trump heads to The People’s Court to get […]

Trump and the Permanent Campaign

us-politics

If anything, Trump’s Twitter feed has been a good illustration of the fact that the President has not made a transition from campaign to government.  This is hardly a surprise, as it would seem that he understands the former, but not the latter.  Such antics, of course, have been evident in public pronouncements and, it […]

Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange Named To Replace Jeff Sessions In Senate

Capitol Dome

With Jeff Sessions now confirmed and sworn in as Attorney General, it falls to Alabama Governor Robert Bentley to name a replacement and he has selected Attorney General Luther Strange to fill the role: Gov. Robert Bentley today announced he has selected state Attorney General Luther Strange to replace Jeff Sessions in the United States Senate. […]

Yet Another Poll Shows Majority Disapproval Of Trump’s Muslim Travel Ban

Trump Muslim Ban Protests

Another poll shows that a majority of Americans oppose President Trump’s Executive Order barring most travel to and from the United States from seven majority Muslim countries: A majority of U.S. voters disapprove of President Donald Trump’s recent actions on immigration, according to a new poll released Tuesday. The Quinnipiac University survey shows 51 percent […]

Jake Tapper Grills Kellyanne Conway on Trump Administration Lies

Donald Trump Shrug

Yesterday afternoon, Kellyanne Conway, one of President Trump’s senior advisers, appeared for an extended interview on CNN’s The Lead with Jake Tapper, and the results were, well let’s just call them interesting: Top White House adviser Kellyanne Conway has apologized for citing a fake “massacre” in support of Donald Trump’s travel ban, in an interview on CNN […]

Ninth Circuit To Live Stream Hearing In Muslim Travel Ban Order Appeal

law-gavel-lights

The Ninth Circuit will be making the oral argument in the appeal of Judge Robart’s order halting an Executive Order issued by President Trump barring travel from seven majority Muslim nations. You can access the stream, by clicking this link. Oral argument begins at 6:00pm Eastern time. If you miss the hearing, it should still […]

Speaker Of British House Of Commons Says No Address By Trump

British Houses Of Parliament

When she came to visit President Trump during his first week in office, British Prime Minister Theresa May invited Trump to visit the United Kingdom. It has since been reported that such a visit, which apparently has not been scheduled, would be a formal state visit that would include an audience with Queen Elizabeth II […]

Saturday Night Live Roasts White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer

Trump SNL

Donald Trump has been providing comedians in general, and Saturday Night Live in particular, with material for decades. Now, his Administration is helping comedians worldwide on a daily basis. Last night, it was Press Secretary Sean Spicer who came into focus for grilling, with Melissa McCarthy portraying him: Nicely played SNL. Nicely played.

Betsy DeVos Nomination At 50-50 After Two GOP Defections

education-costs

The nomination of Betsy DeVos to be Secretary of Education appears to be somewhat imperiled, and would appear to require a tie-breaking vote from Vice-President Pence to make it through the Senate: Betsy DeVos has no votes to spare heading into a looming confirmation vote next week. Republican Sens. Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski said […]

Trump Deludes Himself Into Believing He Did Well Among African-American Voters

Donald Trump Shrug

During the same Black History Month event I referenced earlier, Donald Trump claimed that he did “substantially better” among African-American voters than previous Republican candidates: “If you remember, I wasn’t going to do well with the African American community, and after they heard me speaking and talking about the inner city and lots of other […]

Trump Invokes The Name Of Frederick Douglass, Ignores What Douglass Said About Immigration

Donald Trump Shrug

During a meeting today at the White House kicking off Black History Month, President Trump invoked the name of Frederick Douglass, the former slave who became a leading abolitionist before the Civil War and an advocate for liberty and equality thereafter. It leads one to wonder if he was aware of what Douglass had to […]

George H.W. Bush Released From Hospital

George H.W. Bush has been released from a Houston hospital: Former president George H.W. Bush was released from the hospital Monday, after spending 12 days at Houston Methodist Hospital due to pneumonia. The former president, 92, was in the ICU for five days after suffering a respiratory problem caused by pneumonia. Former first lady Barbara […]

“It’s working out very nicely”

us-politics

“You see it at the airports. You see it all over. It’s working out very nicely and we’re going to have a very, very strict ban, and we’re going to have extreme vetting, which we should have had in this country for many years.”-President Donald J. Trump. Here’s the thing:  either he doesn’t understand the […]

Elections have Consequences, Part 2

travel-suitcase

Via the BBC:  MP Zahawi says Trump order banning him from US is ‘demeaning and sad’ Tory MP Nadhim Zahawi has said the executive order from President Trump bans him from the US and makes him feel discriminated against for the first time since he was a child. A British citizen born in Iraq, and […]

Elections have Consequences

us-politics

Via AFP: An Iraqi family was barred from flying from Cairo to New York on Saturday after US President Donald Trump signed an order restricting arrivals from seven Muslim-majority countries. […] Fuad Sharef, 51, and his wife and three children were instead forced to board a flight back to Erbil in Iraq’s semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan, […]

The Vestiges Of The Great War Remain

Verdun

This article is a couple months old, but it catalogs in chilling detail the extent to which the site of the Battle of Verdun, one of the longest and bloodiest in human history, still impact the countryside of France. By some estimates, this area will still be dangerous for hundreds, and perhaps thousands, of years due […]

John Hurt, Award-Winning British Actor, Dies At 77

John Hurt

John Hurt, the award-winning British actor know for everything from his starring role in “The Elephant Man” to his appearance in science fiction classics such as “Alien” and “Doctor Who,” has died at the age of 77: John Hurt, an unprepossessing British character actor who vanished inside dozens of roles, from Shakespeare to science fiction, […]

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